Today is Yorkshire Day. I believe the 1 Aug has been chosen because it is the anniversary of the battle of Minden when the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry distinguished themselves. Although I was born just the other side of the Pennines in Manchester which is where my first loyalties will always lie I have deep roots in this county. My mother was born in Leeds, brought up in Bramhope and spent her last years in Harrogate and I have lived in Holmfirth since 1985.
So today I want to celebrate Yorkshire and Ballet.
First up are Xander and Demelza Parish. I first saw them dance at the Grand Opera House York at the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School Gala in 2007 (see Charles Hutchinson's review for The Press 31 July 2007). There was a great array of that talent that night but those two stood out even then. It was obvious that they had great futures and so it has transpired. Whenever I see either of them dance (and nowadays it is more likely to be Demelza than Xander) I feel more than a little tug of pride. It was so good to see Xander in Romeo and Juliet a year ago (see Reet Gradely: Romeo and Juliet, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House 29 July 2014 31 July 2014) and even better to see him in Ballet 101 at the Sapphire gala in March. I am also a cricket fan and I think Gita may be too. Should Xander ever tire of ballet we would still come to watch him at Headingley (The ballet dancer who could have played cricket for Yorkshire 11 Jan 2015).
The next village to mine is Honley and that is the home of David Bintley, one of the most celebrated choreographers this country has ever produced. I had the pleasure of listening to him at the London Ballet Circle a few weeks ago and I was in the Birmingham Hippodrome on 20 June to celebrate his 20th anniversary as artistic director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the 25th anniversary of the company's move to Birmingham (see In Praise of Bintley 21 June 2015), One of the best nights I have ever spent in the theatre.
One of Bintley's most exciting dancers is Brandon Lawrence who comes from Bradford. When the company performed at the Grand Opera House at York his presence in Yorkshire seemed to give him a little extra pzazz. In my review of the performance I wrote:
"But if I have to single out anyone it has to be Brandon Lawrence, a Bradford lad who clearly relished his return to God's own county. He danced proudly and magisterially. There was no doubt that he was glad to be back on home turf."Lawrence danced in The King Dances at the special double bill that I mentioned above (see A Special Ballet for a Special Day 23 June 2015) and again he shone.
Since I started writing this post a whole slew of names occurred to me. If I were to include them all this post would be as long as the Leeds telephone directory. I should like to wish all of those great dancers and the many I have missed out a very happy Yorkshire Day.